Sports Bulls & Bears: TSN can crow, some NFL fans take a blow

 

 
 
 
 
Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

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VANCOUVER — Sorting out the major winners and losers of this week — with a bottom-line twist — in the world of sports:

BULLS OF THE WEEK

On Oscars weekend, there’s a lot of bullishness around Hollywood in particular and Los Angeles in general. While the rise of documentaries continues to be the hottest thing going in sport movies, there are many remarkable stories for dramatized, theatrical sport movies as well. The dark wrestling flick Foxcatcher is an example with five nominations, including best actor candidate Steve Carrell for his portrayal of multimillionaire John du Pont. Sport movies likely won’t win the way they did in 2010 (The Blindside), 2011 (The Fighter) and 2012 (Undefeated), but will be part of the conversation.

Meanwhile, after two decades without an NFL franchise, Los Angeles has three potential franchises and four stadium proposals in play for 2016-17. Some of that is bluster — most notably, the combined Raiders-Chargers stadium plan announced while they continue to push for public subsidies in Oakland and San Diego — but there’s momentum behind Stan Kroenke’s pitch to build an NFL venue on land he bought in Inglewood. More than just Sam Bradford jerseys could be outdated for fans of the St. Louis Rams.

Yet the biggest bull of the week is sport television, with TSN in Canada and ESPN in the United States delivering record ratings on their respective sides of the border. TSN recorded the second busiest month in its 30-year history, averaging 230,000 viewers on the strength of the world juniors, college football, curling and the NFL post-season. Only the Vancouver 2010 Olympics exactly five years ago this month generated more eyeballs for TSN, which was up 18 per cent over last year despite losing the national NHL media rights. Sportsnet has yet to jell in delivering its NHL telecasts, but has another 11 years to figure it out. In the U.S., ESPN has reached new heights of juggernaut status, finding effective ways to combine live event coverage (the U.S. college football playoff and its first NFL playoff game) with magazine shows and documentaries produced under the 30 for 30 banner. Pumped by social media fan engagement and multiple screens, sport television sits unchallenged on the throne of live television in North America like never before.

BEARS OF THE WEEK

The NFL insists it will control its Los Angeles agenda and determine if and when existing franchises relocate, but it can’t be a good week to be a fan of the Rams, Raiders and Chargers residing in St. Louis, Oakland or San Diego. All three have Los Angeles stadium proposals in play and their ownerships appear more committed to relocation and fresh starts than renewal and continuity in their markets. While it’s exciting to contemplate the possibilities if you live in L.A., it sucks to be a fan sandwiched between billionaire owners driven to maximize franchise valuation and revenue streams and civic authorities less and less likely to fund sport playpens on the backs of taxpayers.

Tom Mayenknecht is host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and TSN Radio, where he regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of sports business. He reviews the major winners and losers of the past week every Saturday in The Vancouver Sun.

 
 
 
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Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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